Tuesday, July 10, 2018

When God Speaks: Keep Walking

Early Sunday Morning, I read Romans 8 prior to preparing to leave for church service. Imagine my surprise when Pastor Charles referenced several verses from the chapter I read only a few hours prior to the sermon.

Life Center Ministries 7/8/2018 11:00 am service

Sermon Points: We Need Giants

  • Why we need things that strengthen us.
  • Some doors are obvious, some are not
  • We must keep walking; we must get close
  •  It's a picture of faith; it doesn't look like you can do it.
  • Promises are protected from those who are half-hearted (keep walking in faith)

  • Abram (Abraham) left everything to follow God's direction and promises.
    • given the Promised Land
    • name will be great
    • will be blessed
    • will be made a great nation
    • will be a blessing
  • Are we willing to leave or do we say, "No, I'm fine?"
  • "We must change the we think, the way we inform ourselves and obey."
  • The promises of God will make us into something great. 
  • The promises of God release His blessing on us and cause our life to be significant.
  • We become blessed and become a blessing to the world around us.
  • Grace is given, we explore it by faith. 

  • The 10 spies went to Canaan and 8 gave a bad report while 2 spoke in faith.
    • Be careful what you say about what you see.
    • When you are afraid, everything seems scary.
    • Trust in God's ability to open doors for us and through us. 
    • It may look like we are surrounded (by enemies), but we are surrounded by Him (God).
  • Giants (enemies) are always around us.
    • Trust God, He is with us (our weapon)
    • Only see giants when advancing
    • Our Promise Land is being conformed to Christ
    •  Live our lives in love and walking and carrying the blessings of God wherever we go.
  • Giants who keep us from being conformed to the image of God
    • "I'm right."
    • discouragement
    • disappointment
    • self-interest
    • self-pity
    • what's in it for me

Romans 8:31 Amplified Bible (AMP)

31 What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us?

Romans 8:34 Amplified Bible (AMP)

34 Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died [to pay our penalty], and more than that, who was raised [from the dead], and who is at the right hand of God interceding [with the Father] for us. 

When you are in a big trial remember Jesus is interceding for us (praying). 

Romans 8:35 Amplified Bible (AMP)

35 Who shall ever separate us from the love of [a]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 

Romans 8:38-39 Amplified Bible (AMP)

38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is our promise!
 



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Inside Out or Outside In

 

My earthly father has spoken words throughout my life that have pointed me toward the heart of my heavenly Father. Although unknown to my earthly father, these words have encouraged, confirmed and guided me numerous times. Most recently my earthly father stated, "when you are here, it takes a day that is inside out and turns it outside in." It is important that you understand the back story to dad's statement.

Back in February, dad suffered a massive right-sided stroke. This means that the left side of his body has been affected by paralysis. Dad sleeps most of the time, but is able to wake up with verbal stimulation. Can you imagine being imprisoned inside your own body, completely dependent on others to meet you most basic needs? It is understandable that he would feel as though his known world up to this point would feel turned "inside out."

According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, inside out can be described as "in or into a confused or disorganized state"(Merriam-Webster,  2018). Everything my dad has known about the world around him, his physical body and the interactions between the two have now been thrown "into a confused or disorganized state" (Merriam-Webster,  2018).

Understandably, this confused and disorganized state could have a dramatic, negative influence on dad's soul impacting his emotional state. Yet dad says his inside out world can be positively influenced from the "outside in." 

Our heavenly Father has empowered us through His Spirit to positively influence others from the "outside in," but how do we prepare ourselves to be a conduit through which God's Spirit flows through us? We must recognize our need to be influenced by His Holy Spirit; we must cry out to God from our inside out. From the depths of our soul, we cry out for the Lord to influence us, so we can positively influence others.

We cannot allow our souls to reign freely in situations of confusion and disorganization. I am reminded of a Disney movie, Inside Out. This movie depicts a little girl's soul (Riley) as being controlled by various characters representing different emotions. Such a cute movie, but as Christians, we cannot allow "Joy" to be overtaken by "Sadness" as was the case in the movie. If we allow God's Holy Spirit to influence us, then Joy will moderate the other emotions. 


(Docter & Del Carmen, 2016)

 
My flesh and my heart faileth: 
but God is the strength of my heart, 
and my portion for ever.
  

Then he said unto them, 
Go your way, eat the fat, 
and drink the sweet, 
and send portions unto them for whom 
nothing is prepared: 
for this day is holy unto our Lord
neither be ye sorry; 
for the joy of the Lord is your strength


The song, From the Inside Out speaks of a soul crying out to the Lord asking to be consumed by the Everlasting (God). It is in this way we are recharged emotionally and anointed to influence others from the outside in.

Whether we cry out using another person's song or whether we use our own words, a sincere cry to the Lord will prepare us to influence others for good, because He ALWAYS hears a sincere cry...ALWAYS!



References

Docter, P., & Del Carmen, R. (Directors). (2016). Inside Out [Video file]. Milano: Walt Disney studios home entertainment.

Housten, J. (2012, March 25). From The Inside Out - Hillsong United Miami Live 2012 (Lyrics/Subtitles) (Song to Jesus). Retrieved June 5, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com
/watch?v=9j7ZdKtGcSo&feature=youtu.be

Merriam-Webster, Inc. (2018). Inside Out. Retrieved June 3, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inside out

Sunday, March 25, 2018

God is Speaking!



 Galatians 1:6-10

I am astonished and extremely irritated that you are so quickly shifting your allegiance and deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different [even contrary] gospel; which is really not another [gospel]; but there are [obviously] [b]some [people masquerading as teachers] who are disturbing and confusing you [with a misleading, counterfeit teaching] and want to distort the gospel of Christ [twisting it into something which it absolutely is not]. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we [originally] preached to you, let him be condemned to destruction! As we have said before, so I now say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from that which you received [from us], let him be condemned to destruction!
10 Am I now [c]trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

I am absolutely blessed! Just this morning, I read Galatians 1. I was specifically drawn to the verses above and prayed that neither I nor my family would fall prey to misleading or counterfeit teaching. 

Then the special speaker at Life Center, Stacey Campbell, this morning referenced these same verses. WOW! To me, it was like God saying, "I heard you. It is done!"

For ALL of you reading this post. Please, do not assume that just because something is spoken during a sermon or by a pastor that what is being said is the TRUTH. We must ask His Spirit to give us the discernment needed to see through distortions of the TRUTH. We must read our Bibles and compare what is being said with what it says.

Much love to ALL of you!

Beautiful Grace


Saturday, March 24, 2018

2018: The Year of Finishing Lines

In the beginning of 2018, I felt the Lord say that this year would be the "Year of Finishing Lines." Set to graduate with my BSN in May, I knew that finishing line very well. I had been looking forward to it since beginning the path to attaining it in 2014.

Originally, I was not planning to graduate until next year, but the Lord counseled me to take an educational leave of absence from work to become a full-time college student for one semester allowing for the early graduation.

I am not certain what job God has for me after graduation, and this uncertainty has the potential to stir worry, but the Lord keeps assuring me to "Trust Me."

Therefore, I am writing this post as a declaration of my intent to trust God. He has ALWAYS provided and protected and encouraged and shown His love to me in the past. He does not change!
Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].
 
 
This is an awesome encouragement and command.
  • Trust and rely confidently...with all of my heart.
  • Do not rely...on my own insight and understanding
  • Acknowledge and recognize Him...in all my ways.
  • He will...make my paths straight and smooth.
Holy Spirit, touch my heart. Empower it, all of it, to completely trust and rely on Your guidance. You will provide, because You are the Provider! I look forward to all of the finishing lines that You have in store for this year. Thank You for all You have done are doing and will do! In the great and powerful name of Jesus!  AMEN!
 
 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Matthew 10: Do Not Be Afraid of Those...

Matthew 10:26-28 
So have no fear of them; for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).
I am a dreamer.
Throughout my life, there have been seasons where dreaming was very lucid and active.  In other seasons, dreams remained hidden in the recesses of my asleep brain. However,  I do believe that God sometimes chooses to communicate through dreams, therefore, when I remember one, I ask Him about it.
Last week, I had a brief but terrifying dream in which a large man was attacking women and then attempted to attack me.  I woke myself up with loud shrieking.  Poor hubby.
This dream reminded me of a dream I had years ago when I was in a season of extreme emotional turmoil.  I believe the man represents the spirit of fear who attempts to control its victims by stimulating fear, terror, anxiety.  As I told my husband about the dream, he revealed that that night prior to my dream, he was praying for me in a very specific way.  His disclosure confirmed my suspicion.  Immediately, I began to pray against this spiritual attack.
Then Jesus steps in...
This past Sunday during the worship service, the images from the dream flooded my mind's eye, but this time Jesus was with me.  His eyes locked with mine as he stepped between me and the man.  Jesus reached behind His back and pushed the man away.  Jesus did this, never breaking His loving gaze directed towards me.  Then Jesus hugged me, and I could feel the perfect love that drives out all fear.
Gratitude fills my heart, that the King of the Universe would encourage me in such an intimate way.
Friends, do not be afraid of those who talk behind your back.  Do not be even be afraid of those who can kill your body, because the Keeper of Souls, Jesus, is Your Protector.  He's got you!  Receive His perfect love which casts out ALL fear.  In the great and awesome name of Jesus!  AMEN!!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Matthew 9: Thrust Out the Laborers

Matthew 9:36-38
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

36 When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd.(A)
37 Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few.
38 So pray to the Lord of the harvest to [a]force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.
 
There is a note written in my Bible, "what does this mean?" under verse 38.  Heartache, disillusionment, deception, depression, anger, evil abounds in the world.  If we remain tucked away inside the four walls of our homes or churches, how will the sheep ever know the Shepherd? 
 
How can we sequester ourselves in the comfort of our homes and churches, while Jesus Himself prays to "force and thrust laborers into His harvest?"  Intense.  But the people around us desperately require our help.
 
Brothers and sisters, it is the beginning of your ministry to touch the world around you (your neighbor) with kindness and love (Jesus).  We are the only contact some of these dear ones will ever have with the One Who loves them the most and best.  What I mean is that as we go into the world, Jesus, Who lives and loves through us, is manifested by what we say and do.  The attitude we have as laborers toward the harvest can mean eternity and should be overflowing with compassion for the lost. 
 
When I gave my heart to the Lord, it was His Love that drew me, not other Christians condemning me, telling me that I would go to Hell.  Love is Light, His Light, and that Light shines bright in a world full of darkness.  And although Hell is a very real place, many lost sheep are experiencing a Hellish foretaste right now, here on earth.  Where is our loving compassion?
 
Do not be surprised when things don't work out the way you thought within the comfort of the four walls.  Could it be that YOU have be chosen to be forced and thrust out into the harvest?  The laborers are few.  Maybe You have been called to go into the world, overflowing the with kindness and love which saves!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mark 4 & 5: Accustomed to the Darkness?


 While reading these chapters in Mark, I keep thinking about the "demoniac" who lived among the tombs, broke the shackles meant to subdue him, and ran around screaming while cutting himself with stones. Mark 5:1-20

This poor man was possessed by Legion (many demons).  With great compassion and authority, Jesus commanded the demons to leave him.  Miraculously, the man was set free, yet the people living in the area urged Jesus to leave.

Why would the people want Jesus to leave? 

Could it be that they had become accustomed to the darkness around them?

Where they afraid that Jesus would remove the darkness within them that they held on to?

There is darkness in this world and sadly darkness within some of us.  Are we so accustomed to the darkness around us that once it is removed, we become fearful?  And, is our fear rooted in the fact that darkness lives within us? Is fear stimulated because the darkness has become a comfort for our tormented souls?

May truth and love fill us and displace any darkness in and around us.  May His Grace empower us to see and understand and let it go.  In the great and awesome Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!
 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017: Backflow, Tidal Wave

"Backflow, Tidal Wave."  When I asked the Lord about 2017 a few weeks ago, this is what I felt He said.  For many years, I have asked the Lord about the upcoming year, but this is the first time it has stirred a sense of foreboding.  For this reason, I am evaluating whether this is truly from the Lord or from the source that uses fear to control. 

The Holy Spirit has been gracious to reveal the meaning of His symbolic communication over the years.  In faith, I speak the part I understand.

1 Corinthians 13:12
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) 
12 For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God].

According to Webster's online dictionary, backflow is defined as "a flowing back or returning especially toward a source."  The Lord is calling us to return to Him, doing the things we know He has commanded and steering clear of the things we know He has denied.  The only way to determine the difference between right and wrong is to consult the Source, God.  Intimate, one on One communication is the key. 

The second part, "Tidal Wave" is well known in the physical.  I remember the horrible tidal wave (tsunami) which swept over coastal Japan in 2011, causing widespread death and destruction.  The "Tidal Wave" that the Lord is referring to also has devastating destructive power.  Those of us who refuse to return to the Source and/or who hold onto things which we know are sinful or not permissible, may incur the destructive force of this spiritual Tidal Wave.  The consequence of sin is painful.  God allows us to choose, choose wisely.

I really don't know if this "Tidal Wave" will affect people simultaneously on a large scale or if each of us will experience our own unique Wave, but what I do know is clear...

stop holding onto sinful activities, impure thoughts, coarse talk!  Love your neighbor as you love yourself.  Don't get caught up in the twisted reports inspired by the evil one to induce us to fear those who are not like us!  Realize, that we are not our own, but that we have been bought with a price.  Jesus gave Himself for us.  God, made man, His Spirit is in control.  To stand against Him is a futile pursuit.  His fierce love will draw our hearts back to Him. 

Holy Spirit, empower us in Your Grace.  Cause us to hear You.  Empower us to obey You.  Give us courage in the midst of trials and Peace in the midst of storms.  Be our Helper as You have in the past.  You are our refuge and our strength, a present help in times of trouble.  Cause us to come back to You, our Source, to release our grasp in things which ultimately harm us.  Let our gaze be shifted to eternal things, which places the appropriate value on temporal things.  All for the glory of One, Who was and is and is to come, Jesus!  AMEN!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Matthew 8:14-34: With a Word

Matthew 8:16
AMPC 

When evening came, they brought to Him many who were under the power of demons, and He drove out the spirits with a word and restored to health all who were sick.


With a word Jesus drove out spirits and cured diseases.  What was this powerful, singular word?  The Bible doesn't identify the particular word referenced, but I know the word was delivered in love.

Love does not focus on the unlovely state of the person in front of them, but fiercely calls forth wholeness of body, soul and spirit. This wholeness is defined as freedom from "dis" ease; whether that "dis" ease manifests through a bodily disease process, a mental illness or a spiritual crisis, one word from Jesus binds the fracture.  Jesus gives His friends the ability to bring Peace to the "dis" ease.

Some Christ followers may be intimidated by evil, but if we walk in love, evil has no power over us.  Love is built on the inside as we have an intimate friendship with Jesus.  As the love-base is built, it flows out to others through the word[s] we speak, which results in the freedom as described above. 

Talking about love is easy, but actually walking out love, requires a perseverance that can only be inspired by the Holy Spirit.  It's an overflow of the loving and personal relationship we have with Jesus.

These three sentences sum my life's mission, my purpose for living on this Earth. 

 
 
Love the unlovely. 
 
Trust that love is more powerful than evil.
    
Walk out love, don't just talk about it.
 
 
May all of you who read this, know that the power of God's love in you through a word has the potential to provide freedom for those tethered to "dis" ease. 
 
What a wonderful calling!
 
What a humbling responsibility!
 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Luke 8: Political Whirlwind

 
Luke 8:22-25
(Classic Amplified)
 

22 One of those days He and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, Let us go across to the other side of the lake. So they put out to sea.
23 But as they were sailing, He fell off to sleep. And a [g] whirlwind revolving from below upwards swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in great danger.
24 And the disciples came and woke Him, saying, Master, Master, we are perishing! And He, being thoroughly awakened, [h]censured and [i]blamed and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there came a calm.
25 And He said to them, [Why are you so fearful?] Where is your faith (your trust, your confidence in Me—in My veracity and My integrity)? And they were seized with alarm and profound and reverent dread, and they marveled, saying to one another, Who then is this, that He commands even wind and sea, and they obey Him?
 
 
 
In a previous post, I wrote about how God uses the whirlwinds in life to grow us spiritually.  Whirlwinds manifest in various forms, but this post focuses on a whirlwind that is affecting all United States residents, the Political Whirlwind.

It is nearly impossible to engage in media without hearing and seeing the Political Whirlwind.  It saddens me that our political system has degraded to name calling and lies.  Presidential debates look more like a verbal brawl than a discussion of opposing ideas. 

Then I remember how God redeems the whirlwind for His purpose of spiritual growth for His people.  In the passage above, the disciples were frightened because they thought that "they were in great danger." 

Many people, myself included, believe that the current Political Whirlwind signifies great danger for the United States of America and many are frightened. 

Will we maintain our national security and sovereignty while continuing to fulfill our national call as Lady Liberty cries out,

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

But what is the spiritual growth that occurred in the passage above?  The disciples witnessed Jesus "veracity" and "integrity" and that experience stimulated faith in Jesus.  Imagine, with just a few words from Jesus the whirlwind calmed.

Let me submit to you, could it be that the current Political Whirlwind is an opportunity for Jesus to speak a few words, calm the whirlwind with the result of stimulating our faith?

Lord, You are ALL POWERFUL and COMPASSIONATE! You do ALL THINGS WELL!  Speak a word to the Political Whirlwind and stimulate our faith in You!  In Your great and holy name, AMEN!!!

Reference

What is the quote on the statue of liberty? · How Tall is ... (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2016, from https://www.howtallisthestatueofliberty.org/what-is-the-quote-on-the-statue-of-liberty/

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Matthew 13: Let Them Grow Together


Matthew 13: 24-30

Weeds among Wheat

24 Jesus gave them another parable [to consider], saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed [
c]weeds [resembling wheat] among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the weeds appeared also. 27 The servants of the owner came to him and said, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have weeds in it?’ 28 He replied to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull them out?’ 29 But he said, ‘No; because as you pull out the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First gather the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
Matthew 24:36-43

The Weeds Explained

36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him saying, “Explain [clearly] to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and [as for] the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 So just as the weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend [those things by which people are led into sin], and all who practice evil [leading others into sin], 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger]. 43 Then the righteous [those who seek the will of God] will shine forth [radiating the new life] like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears [to hear], let him hear and heed My words.


The parable of the weeds and the wheat explains why evil remains in the world.  Those who perform evil (the weeds) live right beside those who are righteous (those who belong to God). 

For reasons unknown, God has said that uprooting the "weeds" or removing the evil from among us, would in some way damage us (the wheat).

Over the course of my life, evil has been done to me, and  I have witnessed evil done to others.  In my humanness, it seems as though the evil is doing the damage to the wheat. 

BUT God doesn't see situations from an earthly, temporal perspective.

When we find ourselves as a recipient of an evil act, we have a choice to become like the weed by reacting with evil 

OR we can respond as wheat with understanding, love and forgiveness.

Without the weeds, the wheat would not have the opportunity to BE wheat. 

SO what does wheat look like?

Earlier in Matthew 13, Jesus speaks about seeds being sown on the good soil.  These seeds grow and bear fruit to varying degrees. (Matthew 13:23).  It's the fruit that determines what kind of plant is grown. 

SO does fruit look like in a Christian's life?



Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Christians bear the fruit of His Spirit as listed in the preceding verse.  Note that the fruit is "the result of His presence within us."  True fruit cannot be grown by our own efforts. 

Fruit, even good fruit, takes time to ripen.  Did you ever eat a green banana?  Yuck!  The sweetness of character ripens over time.  What develops "unselfish concern for others" and "inner peace," joy, kindness, gentleness, self-control and the ability to wait with a positive attitude as a person stays remains connected to His Spirit.  Just a wheat grain (fruit) ripens in the presence of sunshine and water, in good soil.

Dear wheat, don't strive to grow fruit; cling to Jesus (His Spirit) and the fruit grows and ripens naturally, supernaturally!
 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Matthew 12: The Man With the Withered Hand

Matthew 12:9-14
 

9 And going on from there, He went into their synagogue.

10 And behold, a man was there with one withered hand. And they said to Him, Is it lawful or allowable to cure people on the Sabbath days?—that they might accuse Him.

11 But He said to them, What man is there among you, if he has only one sheep and it falls into a pit or ditch on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?

12 How much better and of more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful and allowable to do good on the Sabbath days.

13 Then He said to the man, Reach out your hand. And the man reached it out and it was restored, as sound as the other one.

14 But the Pharisees went out and held a consultation against Him, how they might do away with Him.



The last time I wrote a post was July.  The sermon this past Sunday inspired me to take the time.  Imagine my surprise when the next Bible reading just happened to be the very stories which Sunday's sermon included.  

I don't believe in coincidences!

Many years ago, I had a dream set in a church.  

I was standing in the front when I noticed a black man with a withered right hand sitting in the front pew.  This man was not black as a matter of of race, he was black because he had been burned, charred. As I prayed for the man, his hand was healed.

I understood that the man represented those people who had been "burned" by the religious structures (Pharisees) within the church.  These people were so hurt that part of who they were (gifting, talent, personality, etc.) had withered. 

The Lord is speaking! If you have been hurt, there is healing!  Jesus has placed great value on you, because He loves you!  He doesn't want any part of who you are to be withered.  

You and I were made to shine!  We were made to go into the world spreading His love to all we contact.
 
We were made to demonstrate compassion!

  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Matthew 11: To Whom the Son Wills


Matthew 11:27Amplified Bible
Classic Edition (AMPC)
 
27 All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known.

Knowing the heart of Abba is possible as Jesus wills to make Him known. 

Imagine the possibilities...
We would never struggle with skewed self-worth.

Luke 12:6-7
ESV 


Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.


We would never slander or gossip about or judge our brother/sister.

James 4:11-12
ESV

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?



We would do more than merely calling ourselves a "Christian."  We would BE Christians.

James 1:22-27
ESV

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 




Revenge, hatred, murder and mistreatment would cease.
 
Romans 12:17-21
ESV

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.




We would stop living like there are no consequences to our actions.


Galatians 5:16-26
ESV

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,
drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.



Jesus, please reveal the Father's heart to us.  Will us to know His Holy Perfection.  Empower us to live as sons and daughters of the King of the Universe, the Creator of all things, visible and invisible!  We need the Father to be King of our nation.  We require His power to interact with each other equitably and with holy love.  Help us to see and know the Father, in Your Name, Jesus, AMEN!!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Luke 7: Do You See This Woman?

Luke 7:44

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

44 Then turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, Do you see this woman? When I came into your house, you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.




Jesus was eating with the Pharisee, Simon, who had been mentally questioning Jesus' prophet status because a prophet "would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him" (Luke 7:39) This woman had a past tainted with sinful activities. Simon knew, Jesus knew it.

The difference was the reaction of the two men. Simon was focusing of what he knew of the woman. Jesus was focusing of what He knows of the woman.

Do you see it?

One man's focus was on the past. The other man's focus is on the present.

I have a new understanding of Simon after rereading this Scripture. In Luke 7:40, Simon refers to Jesus as "Teacher" and seems willing to hear what He has to say. This attitude is different than I had imagined. 

In my mind, I had imagined Simon as attempting to find a fault in Jesus. Right now, I see a man who was seeking to understand Jesus' radical behavior. Think about it. In the culture of that time, 



"this was a service which the wife was expected to render her husband(Yer. Ket. v. 30a); according to Rab Huna, it was one of the personal attentions to which her husband was entitled, no matter how many maids she may have had; likewise, according to the Babylonian Talmud (Ket. 61a), besides preparing his drink and bed,the wife had to wash her husband's face and feet"
(Hirsch, Nowack, Schechter 2011)


What's awesome about Jesus attitude is that although He is aware of the woman's past, He doesn't hold it against her. He knows how grateful the woman is for being set free from the torment of wrong choices. Simon doesn't see her gratitude, because he doesn't know the woman's heart. He judges her actions based upon what he knows, her past. Jesus judges the woman's actions upon what He knows, her heart in the present.

I think what we have to learn in this passage is profoundly simple. Don't focus on someone's past like Simon did. Be like Jesus and focus on the present; focus on a person's heart.

We are not Jesus. We can't read another person's heart. The only way we can get to know a person's heart is by building a relationship, which takes a time commitment. If we want to be like Jesus then we need to stop and talk to "the woman" see her in the here and now. Hear her heart, and see the gratitude that flows from it. Don't assume you know what she does or does not do (for the bad or for the good).

Lord, I ask that we would see each other in the Light of Your Presence (the present). Convict us if we are tempted to see each other by their past. We ALL have a past, but if we have submitted ourselves to You, in faith then we can "go (enter) into peace [freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]" (Luke 7:50).

Jesus, I am filled with gratitude that You have forgiven my past. I thank You that Your Peace fills my soul. I thank You for Your Spirit, which guides my path. I thank You for Your intervention in my life. You are my Perfect Friend and the Lover of my soul. I thank You for loving "the woman" right out of me! In the great and holy Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!



                                References

Hirsch, E. G., Nowack, W., & Schechter, S. (2011). Feet,

     Washing Of. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from

     http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6051-feet-

     washing-of

 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Matthew 8:1-13: I Am Willing as You Believe

Matthew 8:1-13
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

8 When Jesus came down from the mountain, great throngs followed Him.
And behold, a leper came up to Him and, prostrating himself, worshiped Him, saying, Lord, if You are willing, You are able to [a]cleanse me by curing me.
And He reached out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed [b]by being cured. And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed.
And Jesus said to him, See that you tell nothing about this to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony [to your healing] and as an evidence to the people.
As Jesus went into Capernaum, a centurion came up to Him, begging Him,
And saying, Lord, my servant boy is lying at the house paralyzed and [c]distressed with intense pains.
And Jesus said to him, I will come and restore him.
But the centurion replied to Him, Lord, I am not worthy or fit to have You come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant boy will be cured.
For I also am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my slave, Do this, and he does it.
10 When Jesus heard him, He marveled and said to those who followed Him [[d]who adhered steadfastly to Him, conforming to His example in living and, if need be, in dying also], I tell you truly, I have not found so much faith as this [e]with anyone, even in Israel.
11 I tell you, many will come from east and west, and will sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
12 While the sons and heirs of the kingdom will be driven out into the darkness outside, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.
13 Then to the centurion Jesus said, Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed. And the servant boy was restored to health at that very [f]moment.

The Lord is willing to heal, physically, emotionally, relationally.  He speaks a word, and it is done just as we have believed.  It seems to me that we need to focus on believing Him.  

I understand.  I know what you're thinking.   

How do I do that? 

From personal experience, my faith, belief in Him is strengthened as I direct my thoughts towards Him in worship. It's amazing how all of a sudden fear takes flight replaced by bold confidence.  Doubts disintegrate as His glory shines upon meYet earthly responsibilities distract from what is of primary importance.  

Lord, You know my heart.  You know my desires and requests.  You, better than anyone else knows my responsibilities.  Please, show me ways to express my love and soak in Your glory.  In the great name of Jesus, AMEN!